Wong Kar Wai, the director behind "Chungking Express" and "In the Mood For Love," has been selected to be the Jury President of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. While this is a really good call on behalf of the film festival, Wong Kar Wai is also an international treasure, and will certainly add a certain amount of flavor to the jury.
Already a darling of international film festivals, Wong Kar Wai won the Best Director award in Cannes for "Happy Together," a French Cesar award for "In the Mood for Love" and a European Film Award for "2046." Additionally, British Film Institute's Sight & Sound named him number three in their Top Ten Directors of modern times list. So yeah, he's got the cred. But of course, the question everyone will be asking is: what does this mean for "The Grandmasters"?
The long-delayed film, which was still shooting in July, was set earlier in the year for a December 18th release in China. The true-life story of Yip Man, the Chinese martial artist who trained Bruce Lee, it stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, and has taken forever to get to the big screen. Wong Kar Wai is known to be a perfectionist and an endless tinkerer (this is part of the reason that genius cinematographer and collaborator Christopher Doyle, refuses to work with him anymore) and we wonder if his commitment to the festival means that he's confident that the film will be finished by time he flies to Germany. And course, one has to speculate that the international premiere of the movie could happen in Berlin as well (though we'd wager it would have to be out of competition) — certainly, we won't be surprised if that idea has been floated.
“Wong Kar Wai is one of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time. His distinctive signature and the poetry of his works have fascinated all of us. For him to become jury president, is a wish come true. Since the 1980’s, the Berlinale has established itself as a platform for contemporary Chinese cinema, which is another reason why we are greatly honoured that Wong Kar Wai will be presiding the International Jury 2013,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick in the press release. Either way, the helmer will step back the international spotlight in 2013.
The Berlin Film Festival runs from February 7-17th. [Deadline]